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Vitrification makes a product from rice husk waste

By Paul Grad |

In Malaysia, about 2-million metric tons (m.t.) of rice husk are produced each year, and the rice husk is either burned or disposed of as waste. Now this waste may find application as a non-leachable building material thanks to a vitrification process developed by researchers from the University Putra Malaysia (Serdang; www.eng.upm.edu.my). Several methods have been applied in various countries to achieve the vitrification of solid waste. It has been shown that formation of glass-ceramic upon melting and quenching can be achieved with the addition of bottom ash or glass wastes into fly ash. However, Malaysian rice-husk ash already contains 80–95% silica, so vitrification can be achieved without any additives. Research-team member Wan Azlina Ab Karim Ghani says the group selected crystabollite as the target crystalline phase of the silicate formed because of its excellent thermal and mechanical properties. In laboratory trials, rice husk is first converted to ash by combustion at 500°C for 2 h. This ash is then placed in a refractory alumina crucible and heated to 500°C for 1 h in a Carbolite furnace. The temperature is then ramped at a rate of 10°C/min up to 1,400°C, which converts the ash into a molten glassy…
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